Supreme Court Revives Bullock Cart Race In Maharashtra

On the 16th of December, that is Thursday, the Maharashtraadministration was given permission by the Supreme Court to hold the bullock cart race, which was forbidden in the state by the Bombay high court in 2017 October on the grounds that these races are brutal to animals because bulls are categorized as non animals underneath the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act of 1960.

The Maharashtra administration issued a state modification along with guidelines for staging bullock-cart races underneath the supervision of the district collector and a veterinary doctor to circumvent the legal impediment provided by the PCA Act. The high court halted implementation of the regulation in October 2017, citing a Supreme Court ruling from 2014 prohibiting the use of bulls in any sport or racing.

Prominent counsel Mukul Rohatgi, representing Maharashtra, demonstrated before the Supreme Court that bullock cart races, also known as chariot races, are permitted in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu under comparable state statutes established by the relevant state administrations, which were not halted by the Supreme Court when independent pleas opposing them were submitted in November-December 2017. The 3 states' regulations allowing bullock cart races were submitted to a Constitution bench of five justices in February 2018 to see if they violated the 2014 Supreme Court ruling.

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The bench headed By justice AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and CT Ravikumar agreed with the state, saying that it defies basic logic that bullock cart races are allowed across the nation but banned in one state. When referring the case to the Constitution bench, this court put its attention to these regulations. They are debating whether to call a halt to the race all across nation or to allow it to continue in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra has filed a motion through lawyer Sachin Patil to get the high court's injunction lifted. It included a report from an expert panel that stated that only an unique breed of anatomically skinny bulls could run, and that those bulls have been reared and nourished by families from olden days to compete in the race.

The panel overturned the HC decision, saying that until circumstances have altered, they have seen no reason why comparable approach must not be applied to other states in which the same concession applies to the revised statutes.

Organizations and people objecting to bullock cart racing protested to the state's application. Senior counsel Anand Grover, speaking on behalf of one such NGO, stated that such races were declared unlawful by the Supreme Court in 2014, and that state laws do not override the unlawfulness enforced by that ruling. The Court stated that the constitution bench will look into this issue and that parties might ask the Chief Justice of India (CJI) for an emergency review of the subject before the bigger bench.

The Maharashtra PCA, Act and the Maharashtra PCA, regulation of bullock cart race, regulations were enacted in July 2017, allowing bulls to be used as performers. The state maintained that until the Supreme Court rules on the legality of its laws, it must be treated equally as other states that have enacted identical legislation.